Marketing deals with the needs and wants of consumers. It is also reliant on demand, meaning the consumers’ wants in addition to their buying power. Marketing adds value to a product or service and can/does positively influence demand. We are in an era of value-based marketing, using an understanding of human psychology to position a product or service as more valuable than the competitor’s offering. To create the most value for a product or service, a marketing agency would utilize the “marketing mix” (Neil Borden) to create the most value for their particular segments and target markets. Marketing exists in all types of businesses, whether they sell directly to an end consumer or operate B2B.
A critical step for successfully marketing to the consumer of a good or service, is to segment the population. Segments are unique consumer groups where the consumers within the group are together all the same. There are significant differences between one group and another. Most commonly used to segment a population are demographic characteristics (e.g. Age, Sex, Yearly Income, etc.), behavioral characteristics (e.g. rides a motorcycle, uses the internet more than 1 hour each day, etc.), and more. This is something Facebook has been very effective in doing, due the amount of data they are able to collect on individual users.
This step focuses marketing efforts on one or two segments. Targeting may involve further analysis of the consumer, ultimately leading to the creation of a target consumer profile. A decision has to be made during this phase. Using data from the segmentation process, a marketer can select the segments he wants to target, allowing for the campaign message to be better adapted to one’s specific consumer. A successful message will have greater ability of grabbing the consumer’s attention, getting them interested, creating a desire for the product/service, and finally motivating an action in the consumer, preferably to go out and purchase. Technology has made the process easier and more effective. Websites like Amazon will store shopping information, unless prompted to not do so. One moment a consumer is looking up dog food on Amazon. They go to another website to learn something about the dog food, and their is a banner advertisement to purchase the dog food back on Amazon. These are called cookies. Cookies are “packets of data sent by an Internet server to a browser, which is returned by the browser each time it subsequently accesses the same server, used to identify the user or track their access to the server.” (Oxford Dictionary)
The basis of positioning relies on how a product or service is differentiated from the competitors. This can include features of the product or service itself, the price of the product, the place or where/how a product can be purchased, and also through promotion and advertising. The following section will further elaborate on these marketing tools.
- Product – A tangible good/product or an intangible service. Understand the importance of features that make a product great.
- Price – How much is the product or service worth? How much value does it command?
- Promotion – This applies to all advertising, promoting, awareness building, and other activities. The integrated brand promotions mix is a more comprehensive list of all promotional tools.
- Place – This includes the location of sale, point of initial contact, and information seeking. Most consumer goods can easily by marketed, learned about, and bought all online.